The Making of “The Fiddles”

Calgary Fiddlers ornament

Look what we made! Who doesn’t want a tiny fiddle hanging from their tree this season? (click photos to enlarge) The Calgary Fiddlers Association is, well, all about young Calgary fiddlers. Within the association are the Bow Valley Fiddlers groups that range from age 7 to 18, and the Calgary Fiddlers group for 13 to 18 year olds. Each group is a finely choreographed performing troupe, and talented far beyond their age. Their annual winter show, “Fiddle Fantasia”, is set for December 19, 2015 at the University of Calgary Theatre (details here). All the groups will perform in a night of celebration and festivities and I’m honoured to be part of their celebration, bringing sweet fiddles to help raise funds for these amazing kids. Hanging from their lobby tree will be a limited run of 100 ceramic fiddle ornaments, each inscribed with Calgary Fiddlers Association on the back. They can be purchased onsite at the concert. How’d we do it? Every fiddle is one of a kind, using a mixture of textures and glazes, and a process that is 100% hand made from the wedging of clay to the hanging of ribbons from their scrolls. Myself (Cara), Jason, and Jason’s mother Cheryl created and assembled one hundred of these precious fiddles over the course of two months. Each slab of clay is hand rolled, and the violin shape is manually cut from the slab. Texture and embossed decoration is added at this stage, then the fingerboard, tail piece, chin rest, bridge, and scroll are layered on top and secured with slip. Finally, the f-holes are added (or left off, depending on the style of the fiddle). After drying to leather-hard, each is inscribed with Calgary Fiddlers Association on the back. Each fiddle is then handpainted with glaze that will become glossy and bright, and loaded flat onto kiln shelves. They spend 9 hours under heat up to 1200C then cool over the next 10-14 hours. Once removed from the kiln, they are cooled and unloaded from the kiln. They are then assembled with a cut ribbon knotted on each so that they can be hung from your tree.   This was definitely one of the more intriguing projects that we’ve taken on, and the end result makes me so joyful, I can barely express it. I hope that they all find loving homes, and add a sparkle to trees for generations to come.



Clay fiddles

A very quiet and relaxing night creating wee fiddles from clay.